Make your communication more effective and strategic

Upcoming workshops

Open for registration

Please note that all COMPASS events are currently being held virtually.

Writing with the Message Box

December 15, 2021

1 – 4 pm EDT/10 – 1 pm PDT

Clear, compelling, and strategic communication is crucial for change, and writing is one important avenue for sharing scientific ideas and new information. But if you’re not already a professional science writer, it can feel daunting to write something that’s scientifically accurate, easy to understand, relevant, and interesting for readers who don’t have a science background. We can help.

In this 3-hour virtual workshop, we’ll walk through key elements of the writing process – from first draft to final copyedit – and support you as you plan out how you’re going to strategically share your key messages so that you can achieve your communication goals.

This workshop is designed for people who are seeking to improve their written communication skills and have taken a Message Box workshop or have used the Message Box Workbook within the past 5 years.

Early Bird Registration (through November 30) – $150 USD

Regular Registration (through December 14) – $200 USD


Our Team

Trailblazers in science communication

Signature Workshops

Customizable trainings

Please note that all COMPASS events are currently being held virtually.

Contact Us About Training

We’re constantly innovating to better meet the needs of the scientists we work with. Wondering whether we can create something that’s just right for your group? Please contact us at

Additional Opportunities

I’ve been engaging with external audiences about my research on controversial forest management issues for nearly 40 years, but this was the best opportunity I’ve had to participate in a critical evaluation of the whole communication process with a group of research peers and media experts… Simply hearing what a ‘day in the life of a journalist’ is like will change the way I react to the next email or phone request for an interview.

~ Dr. Tom Veblen, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

Four well-known, leading reporters accompanied COMPASS and helped with the workshop. These leading journalists discussed how the media is changing and the importance of communicating science to the public and to policymakers. They shared their personal perspectives on what makes a good science story and how to get our stories told.

~ Dr. John Reganold, Regents Professor, Washington State University

This is not just another communication training. COMPASS brings tools and techniques, but also the opportunity for intensive practice with nationally known journalists. And scientists trust COMPASS: their staff were trained as scientists, so they have an understanding of our perspective and experience. Because they know the science, they never asked us to change our message, but helped us translate it for different audiences.

~ Dr. Diana Wall, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University

COMPASS was a tremendous force multiplier of my ability to communicate my science effectively and compellingly. I use some aspect of my COMPASS training literally every single week.

~ Dr. Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist, Esri

I learned a new identity for myself, that I can be a good scientist and a good citizen at the same time.

~ Michelle del Rio, PhD Student, University of Texas

You know your COMPASS training worked when a congressional staffer repeats your message back to you more than a year later!

~ Dr. Jennifer Balch, Director, Earth Lab; Associate Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder

Having someone with a critical eye who knows the science but also how things work on Capitol Hill, someone who can say ‘that’s too much jargon' or explain the proposed legislation or the constraints—that’s an invaluable service that COMPASS provides.

~ Dr. Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

It was a big eye opener hearing from the journalists that my passion for the topic is a part of the story. I've always thought that my science should be kept separate from me as a person. So one of the most valuable things for me from the training is realizing we can't be afraid to be an individual, even if we represent an agency.

~ Dr. Libby Jewett, Director, Ocean Acidification Program, NOAA

Tools & Resources

Online resources